Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), New Zealand will be allowed to take part in a flagship EU project, it has emerged.
This comes after the two sides signed an association agreement on the participation of New Zealand in Horizon Europe, the EU’s research, and innovation programme.
It marks the first association with a close partner that is not geographically close to Europe.
According to the European Commission, this is a “completely new approach” whereby the EU is “strengthening even more its ties with trusted partners that have a solid scientific base and a robust research track record.”
Association to Horizon Europe means that researchers and organisations in New Zealand will be able to participate in Pillar II of the programme.
An EC spokesman said this is the most relevant and biggest collaborative part that is primarily focused on shared global challenges in climate, energy, mobility, digital, industry and space, health, and more.
New Zealand will collaborate in the programme on equal terms with entities from the EU Member States and will have access to Horizon Europe funding and networks of researchers in Europe and beyond aimed to tackle global challenges.
In the presence of the Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, Director-General of the Commission’s Department for Research and Innovation, Marc Lemaître signed the agreement with New Zealand’s Ambassador to the EU and NATO, Carl Reaich and HE Marcos Alonso, Ambassador Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Spain to the EU.
von der Leyen said: “I am glad that we are allowing New Zealand to participate in Horizon Europe, our flagship innovation programme.”
She added, “This is the first association agreement with a country that is not geographically close to Europe, but very close in so many other ways, including the capacity and willingness to innovate. We are looking forward to pooling our best minds and talents to work together on the next generation of clean tech, biotech and digital projects.”
Further reaction to the deal came from Diana Morant Ripoll, Spanish Minister for Science and Innovation.
She said, “New Zealand and the European Union have a long history of cooperation in the field of research. With this agreement, we want to make a step forward to support our research and innovation communities and our respective economic sectors, but also to contribute to science progress in areas that matter to the whole planet.”
Deeper collaboration with New Zealand will help the EU deal with an “increasingly changing and volatile world”, said the spokesman.
“It reconfirms the EU commitment to driving excellence, pooling resources for faster scientific progress, developing vibrant innovation ecosystems and promoting global openness that is also strategic and reciprocal.”
The EU is New Zealand’s most significant regional science and innovation partner, with more than half of New Zealand’s researchers regularly engaged in active collaborations with EU partners.
Around 4 000 businesses in New Zealand perform research and development activities, with many more engaging in innovation. New Zealand has 8 Universities, 7 Crown Research Institutes, and several independent research organisations.